NFL Rumors: Steelers on verge of making a major mistake with Broderick Jones

The Pittsburgh Steelers could end up making a critical mistake with rookie OL Broderick Jones.
Broderick Jones, Pittsburgh Steelers
Broderick Jones, Pittsburgh Steelers / Joe Sargent/GettyImages

The Pittsburgh Steelers practiced Wednesday with rookie Broderick Jones at right tackle, instead of left tackle. The move comes after starting right tackle Chuks Okorafor suffered a concussion in Week 1, leaving him questionable to play in the Steelers' Monday night showdown with the Cleveland Browns.

Jones played four snaps in last week's opener after Okorafor went down. He spent those snaps at left tackle, while starter Dan Moore Jr. slid over to the right side to cover for the injured party. Their roles were flipped at practice, which could suggest a change in strategy for Mike Tomlin, Matt Canada, and the Steelers' struggling offense.

Jones was on shaky ground all of preseason. He didn't fair overly well in training camp and Moore — who graded out as PFF's worst tackle in football during the Steelers' Week 1 flameout — thoroughly outperformed him in preseason action.

The Steelers' offensive line was a major weakness last season and Jones became the No. 17 pick in April's NFL Draft as a potential solution. Pittsburgh fans have probably been unenthused by Jones' slow start, but the last thing the rookie needs is a position change. His learning curve has already been steep enough.

Pittsburgh Steelers should avoid position change for rookie Broderick Jones

Jones is a remarkable athlete who spent time at right tackle before switching over to left tackle later in his college career at Georgia. He anchored the offensive line for two championship teams and there's reason to believe he can eventually deliver on the hype.

That said, Jones has struggled with discipline and technique in the early going with Pittsburgh. The NFL is a major adjustment for all players, regardless of position, and some take to it quicker than others. Jones needs time and patience from his coaches. An opportunity to play is good — and probably justified after Moore's dreadful Week 1 — but by that same token, Jones needs time to learn the ins and outs of his best position, left tackle. Switching to right tackle unleashes a whole new roadblock to his development.

Thankfully for the Steelers faithful, this probably isn't a long-term adjustment. Mike Tomlin has expressed optimism in Okorafor's status for Week 2 and there's a chance Jones' practice shift was simply to allow more reps at left tackle for Moore, who needs the practice if he's going to continue starting.

Expect Jones to see the bulk of his NFL reps at left tackle moving forward and consider this practice little more than a momentary aberration. That is, unless the Steelers actually do roll out Jones at right tackle in Week 2, which could leave Kenny Pickett more vulnerable than ever as the rookie attempts to tango with Browns superstar Myles Garrett.

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